The upcoming leadership class of 2020 will be much smaller than in previous years, and taught by Jesse Abell. He will be replacing current leadership advisor McKenzie Coulson.
Currently, leadership is made up of more than 50 students. The class has gradually been growing by the year, which has added some challenges.
“I kind of felt like this year it was so big, even within the class, that people weren’t very connected because it’s hard to be really close to 54 other people,” Abell said.
This is why the leadership class size will shrink down from 50 to 36 students next year, according to Abell.
“It was just a little bit unwieldy and hard to manage and hard to build the relationships within the class that we wanted to,” Abell said. “I thought it might be nice to try it with a smaller class.
Coulson is relieved that Abell will be the new advisor; she knew he would be the perfect replacement for the job. She has already accomplished her goals for the class over the years and believed that a new, fresh mind was in need in taking over.
“He’s dedicated to what we do here at Tigard,” Coulson said. “Kids really respect him and want to work with him.” Coulson understood that Abell had the energy and passion for it.
Stepping down as leadership advisor has been on Coulson’s mind for a while.
“Coming into this year I had started thinking about wanting to transition back out, going back to teaching English full time, or rounding out my schedule in different ways,” Coulson said. “I took the leadership job knowing that I wasn’t going to do it forever […] I knew that just being an advisor, there was a shelf life on it eventually, just because of the hours.”
She will not be leaving leadership entirely. She’s taking on a new, reduced role that will allow her to explore one of her passions, social justice leadership.
“The social justice leadership class is just an extension of our HR committee, and it just gives kids an opportunity to really dive into issues that they care about from an advocacy lens and focus less on event planning,” Coulson said.
The curriculum is still yet to be determined, but it will definitely be focused on looking at issues through a local, community, and global lens. Coulson will be speaking with other teachers as well as the social justice professor at Portland State over the summer to see what they do at the collegiate level.
“The idea would be for students to choose some of the issues that they really care about and do research studies on them. Then what I hope to do…is put on an exhibition for kids to come around and learn more about some of the local and global issues,” Coulson said.
For more information about the class, students can contact Coulson, email at [email protected], phone at (503) 431-5513, or in person in room 214.